After a hospital visit at Kennestone last Wednesday, I returned to the car to realize my keys were missing. After running around the hospital for twenty minutes in utter panic, I took a second look. Sure enough, I had locked my keys in the car.
The pastoral care office called security, who said it would take a few minutes for them to come break into my car; yet after more than an hour of waiting, I was out of patience. Noting my frustration, the woman behind the reception desk near the garage tried to strike up a conversation. She suggested, rather congenially, that as a person of faith I could most assuredly understand that this all must have been part of God’s plan. Perhaps, she suggested, God had even delayed my departure to keep me from getting into some terrible car accident.
As we mourned the tragic deaths of the Weiss and Steinberg families in Costa Rica, I didn’t have the heart to tell this kind, God-fearing person that I wasn’t buying into the theology she was selling. If anything, it even occurred to me, my rising blood pressure was probably more likely to get me into a car accident than before.
What I wanted to tell her was that most things--especially tragedies--that happen are random, because God didn’t create a perfect world. Influenced by Aristotle, Maimonides sees God as an “unmoved mover;” God may have once set the world into motion, but God now lets the cards fall as they may. Today, it is human beings that are charged to alleviate our world’s imperfection by supporting one another in our times of need. In this instance, I wanted to tell her, the hospital security team had failed miserably.
Of course, I didn’t tell her any of that. After all, it was my own mistake that led me to foolishly lock my keys in the car. However, during that frustrating hour, I remain so grateful that our office manager, Betsy Fitzwater, ran over to the house to help my wife with our sick kids. Marty Gilbert, our executive director, then drove to Kennestone and brought me my extra set of car keys. After leaving, I drove over to the youth house where our USYers were coming together to mourn the Weisses, who had been USY stalwarts and close friends to many of our kids. They discussed plans for how best we as a community could do social action and honor their memory.
Not for a second, I must confess, do I believe that God led me lock my keys in the car. What I do believe is that God led me find a wonderful community who helped to ease the imperfection of our world. In this respect, I find myself blessed in abundance.